Behind The Big One

The biggest climate action in the UK’s history (to date) was Extinction Rebellion’s The Big One – 21st – 24th April, 2023.

I’m honoured to say that from September 20222, up to and including the event, I was one of the lead coordinators of the incredible team behind it. XR’s structure is non hierarchical – a self-organising system without leaders, but we still have folk who bottom-line shit. And, at times, that can be very shit. By which I mean, stressful, risky, and burn-out inducing.

With the benefit of hindsight, after a good, long recovery period, I can now look back at The Big One or ‘TBO’ with a mixture of fond feelings and dwindling, but still present frustration.

Mobilising 100,000 people to come to London for 4 days, and recruiting some of the UK’s biggest environmental non-governmental organisations to ‘Unite to Survive’ (the tag line) took nothing short of Herculean effort. From the ‘We Quit‘ launch, upon the stroke of midnight, New Year’s Eve 2023, until the final exit from Patchworks, 4 days after the event had finished, when everyone had gone home and I swept the final dust from the workshop floor – I lived, ate, slept and breathed ‘TBO’.

This blog post has already been put off for over a year – and has been several months in draft status – and I’m going to have to keep coming back to edit it – it’s just such a BIG (sorry) topic.

This post is going to serve as a starting point – a place to gather the media and momentos, photos and flashbacks – as I try to tell the story of what it was like behind The Big One.